A Symphony of Daphne

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This is the journey of my creation submitted for a design competition in 2016. The intricate details will arouse your senses to virtually experience this piece.

For years I have felt the nagging urge to challenge my creativity by entering a design competition that rewards know-how, creativity and innovation in the field of crafts. Beyond the challenge it would be, I also saw it as an opportunity to celebrate the raw material I have been working with for over 2 decades and which has brought endless inspiration to my art : Daphne fiber.
And last year, I finally did.

Daphne is a Himalayan shrub that regenerates spontaneously due to its very harvest and reaches full maturity in only six years. The length of its fibers, as well as its self-adhesive qualities, make it possible to produce, with simple means, a natural and solid paper, endowed with an exceptional longevity.
[Read more about Daphne paper]
Inspired by its aesthetic and ecological qualities as well as the desire to perpetuate the ancestral know-how of Nepal through innovation, for years I have researched and developed the multiple possibilities of this fiber to give it a place in contemporary creations.

My idea for this unique opportunity was to create a book, which would act as the container as well as the contents. The book, being the necessary space for the advent of creation, would itself become the actor of its own story. The challenge would be to make it only with fibers of the Daphne bark. I would have to carefully articulate the multiple metamorphoses of these fibers by creating a symphony of textures and shapes that would show off their potential in a single coherent piece.

I blended a mix of traditions and innovations to create a contemporary piece of art. Daphne paper, traditional paper from the foothills of the Himalayas and paper string, Japan’s ancestral craftsmanship, were combined to Daphne cardboard and Daphley.

Over my years of research, I have developed ‘Daphley’, an innovative and ecological material that resembles crumpled leather but is entirely vegetal. This material, by its pleasant texture and aesthetics, opens up a new field of possibilities in sustainable development for luxury.

The whole book with all its contrasts of textures and cuts brings a feeling of calm and rest but also a latent energy in the making. Much like an egg before hatching, there is a closed, folded, packed, stable position. When it is opened, it springs out poetically, revealing a song of space, light and texture. Celebrating every aspect of a book, the binding is an entity in its own right, the rigid inner sheets of paper are what hold the supple architectural cover and the book instead of holding the story is the writing itself.

Marina Vaptzarova

Photo credits : Ingrid Chiron

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